Emilie Duncan of Emilie Duncan Event Planning shares her thoughts on readers' burning wedding-planning queries.

Emilie Duncan of Emilie Duncan Event Planning shares her thoughts on readers' burning wedding-planning queries.

Does a stepdad get escorted down the aisle with the mom of the bride? -David Thorton

Many times, we see stepfathers either escorting the mother of the bride down the aisle or taking a seat in the mother's row prior to the beginning of the processional. He could also escort another person being formally seated, such as the bride's grandparents. In the end, it seems to come down to the couple's wishes, as any of those scenarios would be appropriate.

Are the grooms' parents supposed to pay for the rehearsal dinner only, or do they pay for alcohol as well? -Sara Dee

Traditionally, the groom's parents would have paid not only for the rehearsal dinner and alcohol but also the marriage license, the brides' bouquet and the reception entertainment-among other things. Now, it isn't just the parents of the bride footing the bill, and many people may contribute to the overall cost of the wedding; those old rules seem to go out the window. Often, the parents of the groom contribute to or completely foot the bill for both the rehearsal dinner and alcohol but, sometimes, they will gift a lump sum that the couple then puts into the total budget. All this said, nothing says they must contribute anything at all; it's a conversation that needs to take place between the couple and both sets of parents.

How do I decide who can bring a date? -Andrew Fitzgerald

The basic rule of thumb is: If a couple has been dating for some time and is a serious couple-for instance, they live together or are engaged-they should both be invited. That's pretty simple, but what about those friends who are perpetually single? If you have room (both in your venue and in the budget), extending the offer of a "plus one" is a nice courtesy. If you are out of space, still consider extending this to anyone traveling a great distance or to those who won't know anyone else but you; no one wants to be sitting at the singles' table all alone.

How do you go about inviting a couple and not their children? -Whitney Anne

Etiquette tells us the way the invitation is addressed should make it clear to the couple whether their children are or are not invited. For instance, addressing the outer envelope to "Mr. and Mrs. Charles Dean" indicates the couple only is invited; addressing it to "The Dean Family" would indicate the entire family is invited to the wedding. The reality is, people don't always take that hint, and you may have to make some phone calls after the fact. Let the person who added them to the list make that call-if it's your future mother-in-law's guest, she should call them and politely let them know kids aren't invited.

What is the best way to address wedding invitations when the bride's parents are divorced but still share the same last name? -Katie Landis

If the bride's parents are divorced and not remarried, the mother of the bride should be listed on the first line with her first, maiden and married name. Per formal etiquette, her title should be "Mrs.," though some divorced women prefer "Ms." Either is fine. The father of the bride's name then follows below on the second line. Don't put an "and" or "&" between the lines.